International Humanitarian Law - M Sassoli

Developed by Professor Marco Sassòli, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (Switzerland), for a Master Programme in IHL

I. Course Programme

Lesson 1

  • Mutual introduction: every student introduces himself or herself and indicates a distinction he or she expects to be relevant (e.g. between wounded and able-bodied combatants) and a distinction irrelevant under IHL (e.g. between missile and artillery attacks).
  • Presentation of the course and the subject;
  • Discussion of the learning and the evaluation method suggested;
  • Introduction by the Professor :
    • Concept and purpose of International Humanitarian Law (IHL);

(Read Chapters 1 and 2 in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, to review Lesson 1 and prepare for Lesson 2).

Lesson 2

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • Situations in which IHL applies: international and non-international armed conflicts;
    • IHL at the vanishing point of international law;
    • Fundamental distinction between jus ad bellum (legality of the use of force) and jus in bello (humanitarian rules to be respected);
    • Personal, temporal, geographical scope of application of IHL and relations it governs.

(Read introductory texts in Chapters 3 – 5, in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, to prepare for Lesson 3)

Lesson 3

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • Historical development of IHL;
    • Sources of contemporary IHL;
    • The fundamental distinction between civilians and combatants.^

(Read introductory texts in Chapter 6, in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, and read and discuss the Case Studies dealt with in Lessons 4 and 5)

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

(Read introductory texts in Chapter 7, in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, to prepare for Lesson 6)

Lesson 6

Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
 

  • Protection of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked.

(Read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 7)

Lesson 7

(Read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 8)

Lesson 8

Lesson 9

(Read introductory texts in Chapter 8, (from beginning to IV. Special Rules on Occupied Territories), in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, to prepare for Lesson 10)

Lesson 10

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • Civilians and refugees.

(Read introductory texts in Chapter 8 on Occupation, (from IV. To end), in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, to prepare for Lesson 11)

Lesson 11

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • Special rules on occupied territories.

(Read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 12)

Lesson 12

  • Discussion of a Case Study: Case No. 175, UN, Detention of Foreigners

(Read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 13)

Lesson 13

(Read introductory texts in Chapters 9 – 11, in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, and read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 14)

Lesson 14

JANUARY EXAMS

(Read Document No. 51, ICRC, Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities)

Lesson 15

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • Conduct of Hostilities.

Lesson 16

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • Conduct of Hostilities (continued);
    • Humanitarian Assistance.

(Read Chapter 12 in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, to prepare for Lesson 17)

Lesson 17

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • The law of non-international armed conflicts.

(Read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lessons 18 and 19)

Lesson 18

Lesson 19

(Read introductory texts in Chapter 13, in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, to prepare for Lesson 20)

Lesson 20

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • Implementation of international humanitarian law.

(Read introductory texts in Chapter 15, in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, and read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 21)

Lesson 21

Lesson 22

(Read introductory texts and quotations in Chapter 14, in Sassòli/Bouvier/Quintin, and read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 23)

Lesson 23

Lesson 24

  • Introduction by the Professor (questions by students are strongly encouraged):
    • IHL and Human Rights.

(Read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 25)

Lesson 25

(Read and discuss the Case Study dealt with in Lesson 26)

Lesson 26

(Please think about general comments on IHL and the teaching method to prepare for Lesson 27)

Lesson 27

  • Reserve for questions
  • Evaluation of the course and of the subject

JUNE EXAMS

II. Course Evaluation

Types of Questions on the Written Exams:

  1. “Case Study Question”. This is a question based on one or more of the Case Studies dealt with during the course. The question will ask you to analyse one or more of the Case Studies in relation to a particular subject or theme, e.g. “Discuss the interplay between Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law based on the case Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Coard et al v. US”. In answering a Case Study Question, you should deal only with IHL issues which both arise in the Case Study/ies, and fall under the subject or theme to be discussed, but you should deal with all facts of the Case Study/ies relevant for the problem.
  2. “Hypothetical Question”. This question will consist of a set of fictional facts that you will have to evaluate under IHL. You will also have to indicate what additional facts you would need to know to evaluate the situation under IHL and how you would judge the situation under IHL depending on those facts, e.g. “A food convoy marked with red crosses is attacked and destroyed by a party to an armed conflict.” Students need to indicate that they would need to know whether the conflict is international or non-international, whether the food is destined to the military or to the civilian population and in the latter case whether the convoy is run by the ICRC or the Federation and then indicate whether the marking with red crosses and the destruction of the convoy violated IHL depending on those facts.